KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP) — Snowboarder Nate Holland never tried to hide it: The Olympics are the last hole in his otherwise stellar resume, and he really wanted to win here.
His third try was anything but the charm. He was out of the running before he got down the mountain the first time.
"These five rings, they don't agree with me exactly," he said after falling to 0 for 3 in his Olympic snowboardcross career. "They've given me a lot of drive, a lot of joy while I'm here. But also a lot of heartbreak at the end."
Holland woke up Tuesday and noticed a light dusting of snow had layered the course. He figured it was his day because he likes a slightly slower track.
Soon, rain covered up that snow, turning everything into a slushy, sloppy crap shoot.
Holland was coming over a jump midway through the first elimination heat when he flew too high. He landed and lost all his momentum — and went from the front of the pack to last.
"You don't believe it at first," he said.
All the thoughts and strategies he'd been brewing up through training — and over the last four years, really — went out the window. He just started hauling, "hoping for a gift that someone falls," he said.
No one did. He finished last in his heat — out of the running before things really even got going.
The seven-time Winter X Games champion and one of the best riders his sport has ever seen leaves the Olympics empty-handed again.
"You get to the bottom and it's unbelievable," he said. "It's definitely going to leave a mark."
— By Eddie Pells — Twitter http://twitter.com/epells
Associated Press reporters are filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu